It is a wonderful, wacky Wednesday and instead of an iPhone and/or iPad app, I am singing the praises of a WordPress Plug-in, Akismet, this week.
If you blog, you are targeted by spammers.
Google owns Blogger / Blogspot.com and zaps spam for you. But if you need to own and control your own blog the odds are that you are using WordPress. I hope that you are using a reputable host that provides some monitoring of the health and functioning of your site, they are out there. With those infrastructural considerations behind you all that remains is to manage and write your blog, right? Almost. Spam is more than annoying, it can be dangerous, and it is the first thing you probably want to address when putting up, moving, or renovating a blog. It is also easy to manage with Akismet.
The WordPress development folks are behind the Akismet plugin that as they explain, “checks your comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam or not.” It is easy to install and activate from the Plugin GUI (Graphical User Interface) that is accessible on the sidebar of the WordPress Dashboard.
Something very much like this, below, should appear on your screen.
Click “Install Now” and you will only have to do a couple more steps on your own.
On another tab or window, go to https://akismet.com/signup/ and select the plan in which you you want. If you just have a personal blog you can select the personal option and pay nothing, or if you have a personal blog that is starting to turn into a business and you can afford a few bucks to support the Akismet project, select the amount you would like to give .
Once your have selected your plan and filled out the information, you will be given an API Key (save that key/code!) that you can enter back on the other tab where you will be asked to provideit, so copy that and go back to the tab or window where you did your Plugin search for Askimet.
Your have already done the install so now just click on the Settings tab:
Paste in the API key on the Settings page, and you should be ready to go.
When I first installed this I checked the spam cue until I was sure it was only catching spam comments and not real comments. I only had to retrieve false positive comments once, that I did that by simply clicking that they were not spam. I installed the plugin for Reason Creek when I was setting the site up and it has been working like a charm ever since then, and best of all no more CAPTCHA entries. CAPTCHA is the challenge and response system that computers cannot answer and theoretically humans can answer. But it causes so much frustration in readers that they often will not leave a comment. Akismet solves that problem.
I highly recommend trying this plugin out. I also recommend using as few plugins as possible and only installing them after you have researched them, found them to be extensively and positively reviewed, and gone through a few versions. Putting unknown code into your site is like having someone have you hack your own site for them. Don’t do it. Do your homework.
Once this is done you will just have to write, write, write and not worry about going through comments or losing readers due to CAPTCHA. Have fun!